The first time Uncle Percy had come to her bedroom – just days after she became a teenager - Louisa had not been alarmed or concerned in any way. Uncle Percy had sat himself in the hard wooden chair beside the bed and talked and talked. Tired though she was, Louisa listened politely and replied when asked a direct question. If she felt the tiniest discomfort at sitting in her bedclothes with her uncle nearby she shrugged it off as her mind worrying over nothing. She bid Uncle Percy goodnight and allowed him to kiss her cheek when twenty minutes later he rose from the chair. Louisa slept peacefully. It was to be the last time she would do so for many years.
Percy Styles visited Louisa regularly when his wife was out of the house: shopping, at church functions or visiting neighbours. The terrified teenager allowed him to have his way with her without resisting his advances. Smaller than the adult man and respectful of his position as head of the household Louisa stoically bore his violations of her in silence until she was alone and able to vent her shame and humiliation in private.
Sylvia Styles suspected that her husband had taken a more than altruistic interest in her niece. She was neither shocked nor surprised. The girl was a beauty; there was no doubt about that. She took after her mother in that respect. Where Dora had been dealt the grace and beauty hand of life's cards, Sylvie had been dealt the stronger hand: emotional detachment and a cool calculating mind. Stocky of build and plain of features, she was the polar opposite of her sister. Sylvie and her husband had married because it suited both of them to be together. Love had never even entered the arrangement.
Percy Styles was a serial philanderer. His work as a travelling salesman took him into circumstances and situations that were ripe for his glib tongue and good looks to exploit to his advantage. If that meant dabbling with another man's wife while that man was out earning an honest crust or despoiling an innocent teenage girl he had taken into his home in the guise of Good Samaritan and benefactor, so be it.
Sylvie Styles disliked sex and had restricted her physical interactions with her husband to as few as she could get away with during the course of their marriage. Where he chose to service his physical needs she did not dare contemplate. However, with an innocent young girl in the house he would at least not be running the very real risk of contracting the clap or any some-such disgusting disease. Just so long as he didn't rub her nose in what he was doing with her niece Sylvie was happy to turn a blind eye to his antics.
Louisa watched her uncle and aunt practice rank hypocrisy - - a new word she had learned from one of the many novels she devoured whenever she had time to her self - - in God's house. While they sang the Lord's praises and made their commitments to their faith, the fifteen year old felt her own faith wither and die inside her. She sang the songs and went through the motions, but where there had once been comfort and joy in the ritual of the services there was now hollowness inside her that left her feeling slightly nauseous. She was always guiltily relieved when it was all over for another week.
At sixteen years of age Louisa Tavistock had matured into a stunningly beautiful young woman, eclipsing her mother's beauty by some distance. She turned heads on those occasions she was seen in public, a fact that did not go unnoticed by her aunt. The dour woman feared that trouble in the shape and size of the various young men that called at the house was not so far away. In a bid to stave off uninvited interest in her niece she ordered the shapely teenager to dress in the most unflattering and dowdy clothes she could find for Louisa to conceal nature's endowments. The girl's pretty face she could do nothing about, though, and in spite of her best efforts men, young and older, turned to take a second look at the strikingly attractive young woman passing by.
The legacy of the Great War rumbled on internationally. The voices on the new invention, the wireless, were talking about unrest in places and countries that Louisa had never heard of. She overheard her uncle discussing with one of his cronies (another new word she had learned) the rise of something called Bolshevism, which was apparently causing concern to governments around the world., but it all seemed so impossibly far away and remote from the life of drudgery she was living. However, life was about to change dramatically and unexpectedly for Louisa.
George Parsons was an obese, greasy slob of a man – and Percy Style’s best friend. He made Louisa’s skin crawl with disgust every time she had the misfortune to run into him. As best she was able she avoided the man when she could. On the day her life changed forever Louisa was on her knees in the scullery scrubbing the cold red-tile floor with a worn-out scrubbing brush. Aunt Sylvie had left earlier that morning and was not expecting to be home before nightfall. She had left a list of tasks for Louisa to complete during her absence, one of which was the onerous task she was currently engaged in.
Uncle Percy had gone out about an hour ago and said that he would be back soon. It was so unusual for Louisa to be left completely alone that it never entered her head to take the opportunity to escape the life she was living. Instead she set-to cleaning the floor as she’d been instructed - - and as she had been trained - - without question.
She was lost in her thoughts when she heard the somewhat drunken noise Uncle Percy and another person made as they staggered into the house. The noise approached the scullery and her uncle and the loathsome George Parsons grinned at her lasciviously.
“Louisa, darling,” Uncle Percy said in what was meant to be a kind and sweet tone, “you know my very good friend, George, don’t you, girl?” he asked.
“Yes, we have met.” Louisa replied as she rose to her feet and wiped her hands dry on her apron. She kept her eyes cast down to the wet floor as she spoke.
“My God, Percy!” Parsons exclaimed, his booming voice uncomfortably loud in the confines of the small room. “She has blossomed into a little stunner, eh?” he added, licking his flabby wet lips hungrily.
“That’s my girl!” Percy agreed proudly. His self-satisfied smile made her friend laugh loudly.
“So, what’s the going rate, Percy, eh?” he asked.
“Two pounds, and she’s all yours for an hour” Percy Styles replied, all joviality replaced by a strict business-like tone. “You do not hurt her, understood?” he said, staring defiantly into the rheumy, bloodshot eyes of his companion.
“Deal, old chap. No problem there!” Parsons declared and clapped Styles on the shoulder. “No problem whatsoever.”
He leered greedily at the pretty teenager who had listened with mounting horror and shock at the conversation that had taken place right in front of her. Louisa was dumbfounded that her uncle could so coolly discuss her - - effectively sell her - - so casually and with complete disregard for her as a human being. Unbidden tears began to fall from her eyes as she watched Parsons dip into a wallet and withdraw two pieces of paper that he handed to her uncle.
“Done!” Parsons exclaimed delightedly.
“Now, my little pretty thing,” Styles said as he turned to face his horrified niece, “you be a good girl and look after my very good friend, George, here. You understand?” he asked.
Louisa stared at her uncle in horror, tears streaming down her face.
“P, p, please Uncle Percy…,” she pleaded.
“What’s the matter with you girl, eh?” Styles said irritably. “It’s not as though you don’t know what to do now, is it?” he shot.
Beside him George Parsons boomed out a raucous laugh.
“Why, you sly old dog, Styles!”” he cried. “You never told me that you’ve already educated this little minx!” He slapped Styles on the back, laughing uproariously as the pretty distressed teenage girl begged her uncle to not make her go with Parsons. Her pleas fell on deaf ears.
“You do as you’re told girl!” he ordered, grabbing one of Louisa’s slender wrists and yanking her close to him. “Don’t you dare fuck this up for me, d’you hear? I’ll make you sorry you were ever born if you do!” he hissed into her ear.
“All yours, George” he said brightly. “One hour, okay?”
“Right-o.” Parsons cracked an ugly leering grin as the two men shook hands and Styles exited the room. Parsons stared at Louisa’s forlorn figure as he waited for the sound of the street door closing to confirm that Percy Styles had indeed left him alone with his niece. The solid thunk of the door engaging in its frame was the sound Parsons had awaited. His grin broadened and he rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation.
“Come here, child,” he coaxed, “and start earning that money I gave your thieving uncle”. He chuckled to himself at the expression that quickly passed across Louisa’s face.
“What? You think me and your uncle are friends; that I actually like the reprobate old bastard?” George Parsons laughed a nasty little laugh.
“I would not trust your uncle any further than I can see him where it comes to this,” he told the dumbfounded teenager, brandishing his thick wallet in her direction.
“Old Percy, he worships just two things,” Parsons continued, “this,” he said thrusting the wallet into Louisa’s face, “and this, “he added as he grabbed her wrist and pressed her chapped and chafed hand into his groin.
“Anything else as far at that old bastard is concerned is of no concern to him, which is why he sold you so cheaply to me. I would have paid ten times as much for an hour with a little beauty like you.”
Parsons tossed his wallet onto the side and yanked Louisa towards him. She cried out in pain and fear as he crushed her slender frame in his arms. She shuddered when she felt his wet slobbering lips kissing the back of her neck and his hands grabbed possessively at her ass.
“C’mon, sweetheart, come give yer Uncle George a proper kiss,” murmured into her ear in what, Louisa supposed, was supposed to be a seductive tone. When she refused to turn her face to him he yanked her hair and pulled her head away from his chest where she had burrowed it.
“Do as you’re told, you little bitch!” Parsons swore as he moved his face towards Louisa’s. Panicked and dreading the feel of his fat slobbering lips near hers, Louisa reacted instinctively. Without giving herself time to think of the consequences Louisa jerked her right knee up sharply between Parsons’ legs and felt it connect solidly with his genitals.
There was the briefest moment when all of time seemed to stop dead still. Then the pain registered in his brain. Parsons released his hold of Louisa and cupped his hands around his agonised testicles and roared, sounding like nothing more than a mortally wounded animal. His face reddened alarmingly and he slumped to the floor, moaning and groaning in agony as the fire in his groin became the single most important sensation in his world.
Stunned by what she had done – and the after-effects – she stood speechless and motionless for several long moments, immobilised by her act. She had never in her young life done anything so… so violent and she was shocked that she had that capacity within her. Almost as suddenly her brain was telling her that she had turned a major corner in her life and that there was no going back from this moment. It was time to get moving.
Muttering an insincere ‘sorry’ to the writhing mass of depraved manhood on the floor Louisa grabbed the wallet that he had so sneeringly thrust at her and shoved it into the folds of her dress. She ripped off the apron that she had been wearing to complete her chores and threw it to the floor.
The street door seemed to be miles away and her steps felt like she was walking through thick black treacle as she made her way towards it. It seemed to the frightened teenager that it took and age before her trembling fingers were twisting the latch and letting in bright sunlight. Without looking back Louisa Tavistock left the home-that-was-a-prison and walked confidently towards her future.
To be continued...